Congress wants to prohibit Americans from engaging in the BDS movement
Forbidding Americans from engaging in legal protests and boycotts of foreign countries is a direct violation of our First Amendment right to free speech.
As the government shutdown continues, the Senate has introduced a bill to penalize Americans for boycotting Israel and its policies towards Palestinians. We need you to tell Congress to focus on reopening the government instead of criminalizing our freedom of speech.
Introduced by Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), James Risch (R-ID), Cory Gardner (R-CO), and Mitch McConnell (R-KY), the Strengthening America’s Security in the Middle East Act of 2019 combines four bills, including the Combating BDS Act of 2017. It also confirms $38 billion in assistance to Israel over 10 years. Senator Rubio’s decision to focus on criminalizing political boycotts that are protected by the First Amendment proves that the Senate does not have its priorities in order. America is currently in the middle of a government shutdown; Senator Rubio and others should be ashamed of their decision to punish American citizens instead of helping them.
Previous legislation to criminalize the Boycott, Divest, and Sanction movement failed in the 115th Congress due to its unconstitutional nature and unpopularity by both Congress and the American people. It clearly infringed on American’s First Amendment right to free speech; any similar legislation proceeding will continue to have the same problems. Thus, the revised inclusion of provisions of the Combating BDS Act in S.1 also suppress political expression and silence legitimate criticism of Israeli policies towards Palestinians. The inclusion of elements of the Combating BDS Act would mean that S.1 will penalize individuals and businesses who participate in BDS activities and all other political boycotts of Israel and Israeli-controlled territories.